Wednesday afternoon local public health leaders issued a local statement on the current increase in reported cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The advisory was issued by the Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition (MAPHCO) — the region’s public health preparedness coalition. According to Gina McNeely, Health Director for the Town of Montague and co-chair of MAPHCO, peak times for mosquitoes are from dusk to dawn, and residents are being advised to follow the acronym CREW. Said McNeely, “we encourage all residents to Curtail outdoor activities by dusk, Repel mosquitoes through use of insect repellent, Empty standing water, and Wear long-sleeved clothing outdoors.”
Deerfield Health Board member and MAPHCO co-chair Carolyn Ness announced that all school districts in Greenfield, Deerfield, Montague and the Cooperative Public Health Service District would be advised to end outdoor activities by dusk each day until the first hard frost. Ness stressed that events that are scheduled for evening hours should be moved indoors, if possible, or rescheduled for earlier in the day to reduce the risk of mosquito exposure.
Advice on home safety was offered by Glen Ayers, MAPHCO member and health agent for the Franklin County Cooperative Public Health Service, the health district serving the towns of Gill, Conway, Hawley, Monroe, Heath, Buckland, Deerfield and Charlemont. Ayers suggested residents “keep mosquitoes out of your house by making sure screens are repaired and are tightly attached to doors and windows and prevent mosquitoes from breeding by removing standing water around your house from places like wading pools, recycle bins, and flower pots. Mosquitoes can begin to grow in any puddle or standing water that lasts for more than four days.”
Greenfield Health Director Nicole Zabko announced suggested guidelines for the thousands of anticipated visitors to this weekend’s Wormtown Family Festival. “Concert goers are strongly advised to protect themselves and families by wearing protective clothing with long sleeves and using mosquito repellent with DEET. Concert organizers have been informed of the advisement and the preventative measures they can assist with.”
For more information on West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, go to http://www.mass.gov/dph/wnv.
Nicole Zabko, Greenfield Health Director (413) 772-1514
Carolyn Ness, Deerfield Board of Health Member (413) 665-1400 x109
Gina McNeely, Montague Health Director (413) 863-3200 x 116
Glen Ayers, CPHS Regional Health Agent (413) 834-5729